Why to organize an arts salon in Krakow in 2018? The idea at first glance may seem to be outdated, we are used to treat arts salons as a historical format. However, the idea of organizing the Krakow Arts Salon results from the analysis of the contemporary city and the current condition of the artistic community in Krakow conducted as a part of the the “Public View” – a project carried out jointly by Krakow Festival Office and Bunkier Sztuki in 2016. Its goal was to create a concept for a new format for presenting contemporary art in the space of Krakow. During meetings, workshops and the summer school for artists, we have examined reports on the state of the city, artistic events organized in other cities in the country and abroad. Above all, however, with surveys examining the perception of contemporary art by its recipients, we have directly addressed creators associated with the city and the local audience. We were also interested in the answer to the question of whether Krakow is or may become a place conducive to the professional development of people associated with contemporary art.
When we analyzed the surveys, we were struck by the fact that art is perceived by the inhabitants as elitist and available only to narrow circles of specialists. Attention was also paid to the poor visibility of the artistic scene in the city resulting from the scattering of individual initiatives. In turn, the creators pointed to the lack of sufficient systemic support for local artists, the division within the scene itself into various circles, genres and groups of stakeholders, and the dominance of cultural institutions over private galleries and NGOs. The idea of the Krakow Arts Salon answers these problems in a very specific way – by proposing an event open to all groups of artists, eliminating existing divisions. The Kraków Arts Salon addresses directly to the local artistic community and residents of Krakow. This is a social campaign activity aimed at influencing the visibility of visual arts in the city and facilitating communication between creators and recipients.
Krakow Arts Salon is beginning with the invitation extended to all artists who feel connected with Kraków: professional artists and talented amateurs, students and professors, and naive artists. The exhibition we will present this coming October, composed of the works sent by the authors, will follow their interests. We hope that the open formula of the event will enable showing what artists are involved in currently and to present a variety of narrations and styles applied by them. The originators and initiators of Krakow Arts Salon will select the most interesting works from among the ones submitted, i.e. Magdalena Kownacka, an art historian and Gaweł Kownacki, an artist and a curator.
The Salon is a joint undertaking of the city institution with extensive experience in organising international festivals and a local foundation, known from experimental activities and work with Kraków’s artists. We hope that this cooperation will be able to combine the swing of projects held by Krakow Festival Office with the familiarity with Krakow’s artistic milieus, brought to the project by F.A.I.T., and the effect will be the exhibition presenting a full range of contemporary art created in our city. Although a number of great artists perform in Kraków, there are no systemic solutions, which would give rise to an interest in local art among city residents. We want Krakow Arts Salon to enable a direct contact among artists and Krakow’s inhabitants, and that is why the exhibition will come along with numerous accompanying events, lectures, and meetings.
Proposed formula is a direct reference to historic traditions present in Kraków since the middle of the 19th century: survey exhibitions, which allowed the citizens to see how contemporary art looks like. In place of the formats of events imported from the West, we propose to recall the local tradition, strongly associated with Krakow and positively perceived by the residents, namely arts salons. For instance, the Society of Friends of Fine Arts was conceived out of the conviction of the significance of art and out of the need to present the most interesting phenomena. Thus, we are all the more happy that our exhibition will take place in the headquarters of this institution, which was built from its members’ donations. Although Krakow Arts Salon is to present works created within last year, a historic context and the conviction of the important place of art in the public debate are crucial to us.
The exhibition at the Palace of Art will last from October 12 to October 20 and will be concluded with an award ceremony. The laureats will be chosen by a jury composed of artists from various fields. More information about them can be found here .
The Salon will be crowned with the auction of works of art presented as part of the exhibition, which will take place on October 21 at the Palace of Art. We hope that the works purchased in this way will in future become an important part of krakowian’s lives and homes. Half of the proceeds from the auction will go directly to artists, while the other will be allocated to the organization of the next edition of the Krakow Arts Salon.
By combining the display of contemporary works with the action of selling them, we want to propagate the idea of civic responsibility for art. In implementing the Krakow Arts Salon, we want to recall and indicate the historical methods and attitudes of individual people who played a huge role in the culture-forming processes in Krakow and Poland. It seems to us that we have so much grown accustomed to the fact that culture finances and shapes the state and public money, that we have forgotten about other possibilities. Participation in the Salon and participation in the auction are a real influence on the fortune of our artists and the development of art in Krakow.
If you are considering submitting your works to take part in Krakow Arts Salon, please read the tab: Applications.